Eq: Total Market
Coronavirus cases across the country are surging. On Wednesday the US announced there were 62,000 new COVID cases, exceeding the record set the previous Friday by almost 5,000 cases. Some states, like California have actually started to reverse opening plans, not merely pause them as so many other states have. The huge surge in cases is leasing investors to fret that large-scale second lockdowns may be in the works. Anthony Fauci even openly said this yesterday, adding to fears.
FINSUM: Whether or not you think the case rise is just because of increased testing, the fact remains that as numbers soar, there is growing discourse about lockdowns. That is an undeniable risk to markets.
Those who lean right might not want to consider it, but polls have been showing Biden and the Democrats leading (poll issues being a major issue, but ceteris paribus….). That said, investors have a duty to consider what would happen in the event of a Biden win, or a Democratic sweep. While Democratic wins in the House and presidency are quite plausible at this point, a win in the Senate still looks like a challenge. Let’s consider two scenarios then: a Biden win with a split Congress, and a Democratic sweep. In the first scenario, markets do not worry a whole lot. The Republicans holding onto the Senate would mean many of the left’s more radical proposals would be blocked. What about a Democratic sweep? That could be different, as Democrats could push through anything they wanted. However, even that scenario is looking less dire for investors because Biden is not moving to the left as much as feared. Also, since his priority will be to reopen the economy, sharp increases in taxes seem unlikely in the near term.
FINSUM: It still seems unlikely that Democrats could sweep given the Republican’s 53-47 lead in the Senate. So if Biden wins and the Democrats keep the House, it would probably be an okay (no big moves) scenario for investors.
In a week that saw American COVID cases surge and claim one quarter of all the world’s 10m cases, the US health secretary said that the US may not be able to contain the virus. The US has recently seen a huge jump in cases, with only two states showing a weekly decline in cases. This has led to speculation that the virus may be completely uncontained in the country. Health secretary Alex Azar appeared to acknowledge this, and when discussing containing the virus, he said “The window is closing…”, and that the southern US was seeing the worst of the flare up.
FINSUM: All the hopes that warm weather would hurt the virus have been proven wrong—the hottest places in the country are having the worst outbreaks! How does one price the odds of another economic decline because of this surge?
Markets have been rough for the last few weeks. Investors are doubting the pace of the recovery because of a big renewed rise in cases and the possibility of new lockdowns. And according to market analysts, signs are increasingly pointing to another meltdown. If you study various volatility indexes, starting with the VIX, it is becoming clearer that another big move lower is on the horizon. The VIX and other indexes have recently shot back higher after a steady fall after the huge March volatility and their momentum indicates investors may panic sell and create another big correction.
FINSUM: We do not give much respect to technical analysis on its own, but it is useful (in our opinion) as a tool to quantify what one is seeing in the real world. Right now, this makes sense given the rising worries about new cases and lockdowns.
The long sought V-shaped recovery has been like a white elephant for investors. It has been hoped for since March when the economy started to shrink, but in the last couple months, most let go of the hope as the depth of the downturn became clear. However, given recent economic data, there are growing odds that the economy might vault out of its recession like a rocket ship. Morgan Stanley says it won’t be long until investors completely buy into that narrative. MS thinks in the next six months investors will go from “doubting to believing” in the v-shaped recovery, and that by the end of the year risk assets will be in a “mid-stage bull market mind-set”.
FINSUM: This is highly speculative, but it is a clear un-muddled position. We suspect the recovery is going to be slower than v-shaped, so our expectations are not nearly so bullish.
Markets are having a tough time right now on news of surging cases across many parts of the US. In what has become a typical cycle, optimism on the recovery is being tempered by media reports of surging COVID cases in several states. The markets seem to be unusually wounded this morning, and the reason might be comments from Coronavirus Task Force chief Anthony Fauci. Speaking about the rise in cases, he called it a “disturbing surge” and warned congress that the virus was not under control.
FINSUM: The rise in cases in Florida, Texas, California, and Arizona has been alarming, especially in the last week, so markets are starting to worry about the potential for new lockdowns.